First of all – welcome to Life of Dearbh! I’m so glad you’ve made it here to my small portion of the great wide world.
Secondly – I bet you’re wondering ‘how on earth am I supposed to pronounce that weird name??’. It’s ok, I’m not offended, it happens a lot. Dearbh is actually a nickname, a short version of the extremely Irish name Dearbhaile. They’re pronounced ‘derv’ and ‘der-ve-la’. Yes, I know, that’s a pretty ridiculous spelling. You can blame my parents…and the Irish language.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to it. So who am I?
I’m just an ordinary Irish girl with a love for animals, nature and the world we live in. If I had to describe myself in three words they would probably be – nerdy, sarcastic and caring. I like to think I’m witty too, but I’ll leave that one for you to decide.
After my final set of university exams in May 2013, I packed my bags and left Ireland for an incredible summer working in Chicago on a JI visa. I returned home to Ireland for about ten days for my graduation ceremony. A Zoology degree firmly in hand, I set off again, this time to the opposite side of the world – New Zealand.
I’m a self-confessed Lord of the Rings nerd, so it’s no surprise I completely fell in love with that country. A year was not enough time there. On my way home again I stopped off in Tonga to swim with humpback whales. But I knew I wasn’t going to be home for long.
A few months back in Ireland were followed by a year in Australia, including a four-month, 20,000km solo drive across the continent, three months in Asia, then another few months working in Australia again. Until June 2016, when everything changed.
While I love travelling, during my time in Asia I became disenchanted by it. Maybe it was the exhaustion, the busy cities, the constant moving from place to place, but all of a sudden I realised I wasn’t happy anymore. Losing my childhood pet and best friend didn’t help either. So I applied for, and managed to get a temporary job working as a rehabilitation assistant for a wildlife rescue centre in Malawi. I’d spent part of three summers volunteering with wildlife in Africa before and it’s my dream to make a career out of it.
So while I’m still determined to travel and see the world, I’m also now focusing on my career in wildlife conservation. So this blog isn’t just about beautiful beaches and hiking volcanos, it’s also to promote wildlife issues and volunteer programmes that I support and believe in. Being a zoologist has definitely shaped the way I travel. Not all wildlife experiences are created equal, and I think it’s really important that travellers do some research before they jump into a wildlife encounter.
I’ve also always been a bit of a loner, so solo travel just came naturally to me. While many people have called me brave for it, I guess there are different ways to look at it. While it’s not for everyone, I can definitely attest to the rewards travelling solo can bring. It can be scary, but totally do-able if you don’t let fear stand in your way.
When I’m not somewhere out in the world, I like to spend time with my family in Ireland. Even in my mid-20s, I still love that feeling of familiarity and comfort I get from stepping into my old bedroom after a long trip away. However, I have extremely itchy feet and find it hard to stay anywhere longer than three or four months, so even when I am at home I’m always planning my next adventure!
So that’s about it! I hope you enjoy Life of Dearbh. I’ll try my best to mix helpful information with a good dose of stories and a dash of inspiration. Feel free to let me know your thoughts or even your own stories in the comments on any of my posts.
You can also find me on social media – let’s connect!